Raita is a simple Indian side dish with lots of variants. My parents made one like this to go with curries, or just as a nice salad in the summer. I’ve changed it up a bit since I started cooking on my own. I do the amounts to taste, so unfortunately I have no idea what the measurements are.

  • Whole seed or pre-groud cumin and coriander
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Scallions (green onions)
  • Plain yogurt

If you start with whole seed cumin and coriander, grind them with your choice of grinding method. Use an approximately equal amount of each. Toast the spices by heating them in a dry pan over very low heat. Once the pan heats up, stir the spices constantly until they are aromatic and smell a little toasted. (I don’t know how to describe this smell any better. You’ll know it when you smell it.) Never leave for an instant while toasting, and use a thick-bottomed pan if you have one. Probably a tablespoon or two of each for 4-6 is good.

After the spices are toasted, chop up the cucumber and tomato into nice smallish chunks, and mince the scallions. Use approximately equal amounts of cucumber and tomato. Put the veggies in a bowl and add in yogurt until you have a nice mix with plenty of yogurt to coat the veggies. Then mix in the spices, adding a small amount at a time until the taste suits you. There’ll be a nice dotting of the yogurt. Allow to sit a short while, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


As noted, amounts are approximate and can be adjusted to taste. A lot of recipes for raita don’t have tomato. A lot use regular onion in place of spring onion, but I don’t like raw regular onions. My parents didn’t put onion in it; I added it after hearing that raita usually has onion. I usually use low-fat or non-fat yogurt, because it’s what I was raised on and I like the texture of the result, but I don’t think it matters much if you prefer it otherwise.

Raita can work for a short time as leftovers, but the yogurt will become watery from the cucumber and tomato if left too long. This process can be retarded by seeding both vegetables before adding them, which is generally too much work for me to bother with.

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